There are times when it is necessary to climb on to my roof, whether it be to clean the gutters or fix a loose shingle or even patch a hole, I have to go up there. The thought doesn’t seem awful at all, the roof of my two story house not all that tall from a ground perspective. A trip up the ladder won’t be bad, a simple task, no anxiety required. Then I start up the ladder, get half way up, look down.
Uh oh. Suddenly the ground looks a long way down.
If I manage to coax my way up to the roof, a task this height chicken sometimes is not able to accomplish, it is done after I stand frozen in place on one rung of the ladder. Getting to the top is often managed one rung at a time, a pause at each rung with a look down at the menacing precipice below. Heaven forbid that the ladder shakes or leans at all. That could send me scurrying down to safety.
Eventually I do make it to the roof. I have to. There is a task to be resolved up there. I am a task oriented guy.
If I sit in the middle, look straight out while enjoying the view, take everything around me in without looking over the edge, I am fine. There are beautiful open fields to the west and north, spectacular really, worth the trip up the ladder (or out the second floor window — the way I sometimes cheat using the ladder). Then the task calls me away from the revelry, reminds me that I am up there for another reason. Inevitably, I stand up, shaky from the reminder of where I am at as well as the instability of the sloped roof. Then the voice in my head taunts me, that voice that is both reason and temptation, the one that wants me to learn something by confronting what is making me uncomfortable.
Go to the edge. Look down.
Without fail, I listen to that voice.
I shuffle to the edge.
I look down.
My head swims.
I am scared. I try to tell myself that I am not afraid, but I am. I force myself to stand there. I have to stay. No matter how high it seems, I tell myself that I am in no danger.
Why is there always that urge to jump? Why is there that fleeting thought that I might just be able to fly? I wonder if I could avoid serious injury if I accidentally fell, do one of those slick somersaults just as I reach the ground. The voice in my head reminds me that I am not Rambo.
Yesterday I sat in the waiting room of a law office. I felt like I was standing at the edge and looking down. I had forced myself to the edge and was about to take a step off. My head was swimming. Nausea crept in. Resolve told me to stay put, do not walk back out that office door. I needed to learn. I needed to conquer the fear that had kept me from that precipice in the past. I had climbed the ladder, rung by painfuly slow rung. Now I needed to focus on the task.
I visited with an attorney mediator for a new concept called Wevorce. Their approach is to guide a divorcing couple through a series of meetings using software that prepares them to eventually file for divorce. The goal is to have an amicably agreed upon settlement and terms drawn up at the end of the process. The mediator sits in between at each meeting. There is a flat rate agreed upon with the attorney mediator after the first consultation.
My next trip up the ladder will be to get my wife to the mediator.
One rung at a time. One.